Ann Romney is rich

Thursday, April 12th, 2012 · 98 Comments »

Extremely rich. She has servants and horses and car elevators, for chrissake. Wasn’t that the point Hilary Rosen was trying to make when she said that Ann Romney has “never worked a day in her life”? Yes, I believe it was, Batman. Rosen’s word choice was extremely poor, I grant you: taken out of context, it certainly could sound like she was saying that being a stay-at-home-mom isn’t work. But Rosen, who is herself a mother, clarified in a blog post:

Now let’s be clear on one thing. I have no judgements about women who work outside the home vs. women who work in the home raising a family. I admire women who can stay home and raise their kids full-time. I even envy them sometimes. It is a wonderful luxury to have the choice. But let’s stipulate that it is NOT a choice that most women have in America today.

Why does this even matter? It matters purely because Mitt Romney put the issue of his wife’s views squarely on the table.

As Ruth Marcus noted in her column yesterday in the Washington Post, Romney, when asked last week about the gender gap, twice said he wished his wife could take the question.

“My wife has the occasion, as you know, to campaign on her own and also with me,” Romney told newspaper editors, “and she reports to me regularly that the issue women care about most is the economy.”

So it begs the question, is Ann Romney Mitt’s touchstone for women who are struggling economically or not? Nothing in Ann Romney’s history as we have heard it — hardworking mom she may have been — leads me to believe that Mitt has chosen the right expert to get feedback on this problem he professes to be so concerned about.

One more time: the Romneys are rich. Super rich. Ann Romney has never had to worry about money, never had to juggle an outside job with childcare, never had to stretch a dollar to feed her kids. That was the point Rosen was making.

In a subsequent statement, Rosen added:

“Let’s put the faux ‘war against stay at home moms’ to rest once and for all. As a mom I know that raising children is the hardest job there is. As a pundit, I know my words on CNN last night were poorly chosen. In response to Mitt Romney on the campaign trail referring to his wife as a better person to answer questions about women than he is, I was discussing his poor record on the plight of women’s financial struggles…

“As a partner in a firm full of women who work outside of the home as well as stay at home mothers, all with plenty of children, gender equality is not a talking point for me. It is an issue I live every day. I apologize to Ann Romney and anyone else who was offended. Let’s declare peace in this phony war and go back to focus on the substance.”

Anything beyond this is just the wingnuts doing their quadrennial dance wherein they pretend to be the “real” feminists by sticking up for rich housewives and nice white ladies with lots of kids, etc., etc., etc. I’m going AWOL on this shit.

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98 Responses to “Ann Romney is rich”

  1. Carmonn says:

    Ehhh, I don’t know. Rosen was fine on the substantive points she was trying to make about Romney’s policy being anti-woman, but I wish they’d just leave the wives out of it. The fact that he brought her up isn’t an excuse, they all do that and they certainly don’t ask permission first. Ann Romney is more popular than her husband, and it feels like they’re gearing up to make her the proxy since there’s no actual woman in the race to attack. She’s also ill, and the whole thing just feels really unnecessary.

  2. quixote says:

    Christ on a pogo stick. The gender gap bullshit has only started, and already I’m sick of it.

    There shouldn’t be a gender gap. On the one hand you have Mr. “I can’t trade women’s rights away fast enough” Obama. Stupakistan, Plan B, giving the Red Beanie Boyz veto power over women’s birth control, etc., etc., etc., ad infinitum et nauseam. Making the stimulus all about “shovel readiness” (who handles most shovels for pay?) and refusing to help states so they could keep teachers employed. (Which gender does a lot of the school teaching?)

    On the other hand you have a party who wants the government out of everything except women’s vaginas.

    There shouldn’t be one single woman in the country voting for either of these liars. There shouldn’t be any men doing that either. And while I’m dreaming anyway, any media types who say “gender gap” should be gagged with duct tape and forced to read the collected works of Andrea Dworkin, over and over and over, until they get it.

  3. Violet Socks says:

    Ann Romney is more popular than her husband, and it feels like they’re gearing up to make her the proxy since there’s no actual woman in the race to attack.

    I’m not getting that at all. The first time I saw any focus on Ann Romney in this campaign was a few weeks ago, when the right floated a silly story about her being a “rock star” and the one that people really want to see. It didn’t go anywhere.

    I’ve seen nothing from the Obama camp or Democrats in general about Ann Romney, until this thing from Rosen. And it seems clear that Rosen was reacting to Mitt’s ridiculous claim that he’s on the pulse of women in America because he asks Ann.

    There’s no upside for Democrats in attacking Ann Romney. And they don’t need to, since Mitt himself is fully repellent enough to lose the election.

  4. Violet Socks says:

    Quixote, I think Melissa’s “Observation” post today said it all:

    The United States would be a very different place if everyone cared this much about misogyny when there wasn’t a presidential election in which appearing to care about misogyny could score a political point.

  5. Carmonn says:

    I agree that there’s more than enough to attack with Mitt, but that’s why I don’t understand going here. All of Rosen’s points could have been made without a single reference to Ann Romney. I don’t think Ann Romney is tremendously popular or has any type of following, but since her husband is about as popular and appealing as a carton of cottage cheese left outside since last August, I do think she’s probably more popular than he is, and I also think the Democrats believe that attacking any woman is a big shot in the arm to the youth vote and Obama’s primary base, with no downside.

  6. Adrienne in CA says:

    Well that was quick. No more War on Women. Just the familiar war between women. The P is safe once more.

  7. tinfoil hattie says:

    I have a tremendous irritation with any woman who says, about another woman, “She never worked a day in her life.” It’s bullshit. I don’t care if Ann Romney is rich. Unless Hillary Rosen, or anyone else with a stated opinion about it, has actually lived with Ann Romney all her life, s/he has no call to speak about it. It’s a gendered criticism itself – assuming that women are “kept” by rich men and that they are lazy, or just ornamental. This is just casting aspersions on the rich lifestyle. Yet who among us wouldn’t appreciate some more wealth?

    As for Mitt pretending his wife is the better choice to talk about That Weird Species Known As Women: more bullshit. He doesn’t see women as people; not many men do. They’re a Special Interest Group with Other Needs.

    And no, I don’t believe Ann Romney, by virtue being a woman, can therefore speak to the poverty of other women. THAT point, I’ll concede readily.

  8. tinfoil hattie says:

    I also think the Democrats believe that attacking any woman is a big shot in the arm to the youth vote and Obama’s primary base, with no downside.

    Dead-on, Carmonn. After all, it worked last time, didn’t it? And who has been harmed by Obama’s bullshit policies? Women, and the poor. So the Democrats (read: “men”) don’t have to give a shit, again.

    Vote for Jill Stein in the Green Party, I say. Read the Green Party platform and it becomes obvious it’s the only choice that makes sense.

  9. Violet Socks says:

    Carmonn, I think attacking women was a winning strategy for Obama’s camp in 2008, but not now. Right now Obama is positioning himself as The Friend To Womankind. I don’t know if you saw the video he made for Planned Parenthood, in which he said that women are half of the country and that it’s bogus to play political games with women’s rights. Which was all true, except that he himself has done nothing but play political games with women’s rights, which is why my head exploded when I watched the video. In fact, I’m dead now and am speaking to you from the afterlife.

    But I digress. Regardless of his administration’s actual record, Obama is playing the Friend To Women card right now, with a huge assist from the truly astonishing display of misogyny from the Republicans. That’s the play for 2012: Democrats Love Women! So I don’t really see them going for an attack on Ann Romney.

    I think Hilary Rosen just shot her mouth off and fucked up.

  10. Violet Socks says:

    It’s a gendered criticism itself – assuming that women are “kept” by rich men and that they are lazy, or just ornamental.

    I see your point, but personally, I use that phrase all the time when talking about rich people. Maybe it’s a question of colloquialism. To me, somebody who’s “never worked a day in their life” really means somebody who’s never had to work for money in their life. There’s not a gender component to it for me; in fact I’ve used that phrase far more often about men (like Dubya) than about women.

    The point in this case isn’t to cast aspersions on the rich lifestyle, but to question whether multi-millionaires are really the right source for insight into the economic struggles of working class Americans. I vote no.

  11. Violet Socks says:

    Or to put it another way, I think Rosen was trying to make a point about economic class. Not gender.

    But she fucked up.

  12. Carmonn says:

    I hope you’re right, Dr. Socks, but if you look around you’ll see comments about Ann Romney being a horrible bitch who doesn’t even know what being a mother means because she doesn’t cook and clean and wash dishes with her own hands like a real good mommy. It’s perfectly possible for Obama to position himself as Friend to Women and still stir up these currents that get his base juiced. We really don’t hate all women, just the bad unnatural ones who are destroying America.

  13. Violet Socks says:

    I believe you on the comments, Carmonn, but I haven’t seen them myself. What I’ve seen and heard, particularly from women in my own circle, is very much in line with Rosen’s economic argument. The idea of Ann Romney as the spokeswoman for the women of America is just absurd. This is a woman who collects dressage horses and Cadillacs, and she’s Mitt’s inside counsel on those of us who can’t afford health insurance or who are on food stamps or working three jobs to feed our kids? It’s not about gender or being a stay-at-home-mom at all; it’s about the filthy rich. The one percent.

    And from that perspective, it looks like the Republicans are furiously trying to spin this as a gender war in order to distract from the economic issue. Most women I know think Rosen was fundamentally right and this is just bullshit games.

  14. riverdaughter says:

    Aw Jeez, the fricking SAHM sacred cow raises its ugly head. I am so sick of kissing the asses of the SAHMs. You know what, Violet? Raising kids is hard, but that varies by how many kids you have at one time. Having one kid at a time spaced over many years is considerably less difficult. It is NOT the hardest job in the world. I’m sorry. I’ve had some pretty hard jobs in my life, my last one before I was laid off was hard, physically and mentally exhausting and staying until 9pm was not infrequent. Can we please give working women a little more credit for doing their jobs? I think Rosen has this all wrong. I think she should be demanding that SAHMs start giving working women more praise. We fricking subsidize their lifestyles, especially single mothers who work and pay outrageous taxes.
    But once again, we fall into this trap. Motherhood is esteemed above every other thing you can do as a woman. It comes first. And as long as working women shrink from this fight and end up apologizing all the damn time, we’re only going to be seen as childminders and uteruses.
    Our brains count for nothing and I am about to explode with fury over this latest insult.

  15. tinfoil hattie says:

    I agree that Ann Romney is not a good spokesperson for people, including women, who suffer economically. But Rosen turned it into a gendered slur. The Romneys have five kids, yes? I guarantee their Mormon mother “worked a day in her life.”

    Theresa Heinz Kerry made a similar comment about Laura Bush in 2004. It was bullshit then, and it’s bullshit now.

  16. tinfoil hattie says:

    Fuck you, Riverdaughter.

  17. Carmonn says:

    I don’t think anyone thinks Ann Romney is a spokeswoman for women in America, but we all also understand Mitt’s just pandering to the wimminfolkz. It was perfectly possible to poke fun at him and more imporatntly get back to making her actual points without putting this into motion. I don’t think Hilary Rosen is stupid, she had to know that bringing up a candidate’s spouse was probably going to be controversial, and there’s no way that saying “She never worked a day in her life” was not going to set off Mommy Wars, Round 54,090,876. If this wasn’t a trial balloon based on the fact that this kind of thing resonates and they know it, then I seriously question Rosen’s future in PR, because that’s a pretty big fuckup with built in guaranteed bullshit games a comin’.

    Christ on a cracker, riverdaughter.

  18. Unree says:

    Doesn’t Hilary Rosen have a search engine? I just googled and learned that in 2005 Ann Romney headed a Mass. state office, created by Mittens, set up to grab federal cash for faith-based initiatives. Wiki implies that Ann Romney worked effectively in this job. She also worked to found a United Way godbag offshoot, and she spends a lot of time figuring out where to donate Romney money. All that might not be too hard, but damn it is work.

  19. Violet Socks says:

    Oh gosh. People are fighting in my comment thread.

    Okay, a few points:

    Carmonn, I don’t know from Hilary Rosen. I’ve never even heard of her before now. But I never underestimate people’s ability to fuck up, even in their chosen professions. This looks to me more like a fuck up than any kind of planned trial balloon from Obama HQ. But we don’t know, and you may be right. Who knows. If it was a trial balloon, then hopefully it’s been deflated.

    I still think the economic argument to be made is valid. The Romneys—both of them—are rich elitists who are absurdly out of touch.

    I also think that Mitt Romney treating his wife as the go-to spokesperson for the Women of America is sexist and reduces women to one monolithic mass. Which we’re not. It’s like having the one black friend or something. Can you imagine if Romney said “Hey, I know this one black guy and he keeps me informed of what all those black people think.” God almighty. If anything it’s even more ridiculous with women, since we’re half the population and every bit as diverse as the male half.

    Riverdaughter, it’s not an either/or thing. Women deserve credit for everything we do, and everything we do deserves to be valued. Yes, women who work in careers outside the home deserve respect; they deserve to be respected as much as men working those careers and as much as women fulfilling more traditional roles.

    But women’s unpaid work of raising families and keeping house is the work of the world, it’s what makes everything go ’round, and it also deserves respect. It’s not about valuing that more than paid work; it’s about valuing it as much as paid work. Which still doesn’t happen.

    Back in the 70s feminists suggested assigning economic value to women’s traditional work as part of GDP, and giving homemakers Social Security benefits. Those were good ideas.

    I don’t understand what you mean when you say that working women “subsidize” the lifestyle of SAHM. World-wide, this is not true; in fact, the unpaid work of women in homes and families across the world is what subsidizes everything else. The only reason men and some women can engage in specialized paid labor in the marketplace is because there are unpaid women holding down the fort at home.

    (However I suspect you were making a narrower point about upper middle class couples in the U.S., though I’m still not sure what your argument is.)

  20. Sameol says:

    So it begs the question, is Ann Romney Mitt’s touchstone for women who are struggling economically or not? Nothing in Ann Romney’s history as we have heard it — hardworking mom she may have been — leads me to believe that Mitt has chosen the right expert to get feedback on this problem he professes to be so concerned about.

    This is so disingenuous. Well, no, Hilary, actually Ann Romney is not Mitt Romney’s touchstone for anything. He wouldn’t take her advice on anything if he didn’t want to even if she begged, so pretending it’s okay to get on her because she’s slated to head his Counsel of Economic Advisors and needs to be vetted feels a bit premature.

  21. tinfoil hattie says:

    Know what else those selfish, lazy SAHMs you claim to “subsidize” do, riverdaughter? In the U.S., they fill in the gaps in the schools and other places, as volunteers. They pick up friends’ sick kids from daycare or school. Also, oh, yeah – they commit the horrible, selfish crime of raising kids.

    All this, of course, is after they give up their incomes and their right to set tax deferred retirement funds or pay into Social Security.

    But all that is okay, of course, because YOU subsidize them.

    Your misogyny is showing.

  22. Carmonn says:

    I also think that Mitt Romney treating his wife as the go-to spokesperson for the Women of America is sexist and reduces women to one monolithic mass. Which we’re not. It’s like having the one black friend or something. Can you imagine if Romney said “Hey, I know this one black guy and he keeps me informed of what all those black people think.” God almighty. If anything it’s even more ridiculous with women, since we’re half the population and every bit as diverse as the male half.

    Of course it is. And Rosen could have gone after Mitt’s pandering (maybe not directly, but in an oblique way), instead of beating up on the pawn in Mitt’s own bullshit game. I don’t think anybody, least of all Hilary Rosen actually believes that Mitt polls his wife on matters of import to women. She understands pandering just like everybody else. Like I said before, I don’t believe that he actually asked his wife’s permission before bringing her up publicly, any more than he asked her permission to run for Governor of Massachusetts (rumor has it she was strongly opposed to living in a cold, humid climate because of her MS).

    I also strongly suspect that Michelle Obama could find better things to do with her time than grow salad and make polite conversation with Elmo. Political wives don’t necessarily have much choice in these things. They get brought up when they don’t want to be, they get pushed forward to do things they don’t want to do, and they get attacked. I doubt that a anything close to a majority of political wives actually relish or seek this kind of thankless role, which is why I feel pretty strongly that they should just be left out of it. Try explaining to your husband that you won’t go out and read the script that Karl Rove or James Carville says will be a slamdunk.

    Ann Romney may be an elitist who’s absurdly out-of-touch, but considering she’s not running for anything and will be consigned to picking out china patterns, it doesn’t seem worth it to put focus on her.

  23. Ciardha says:

    I’m pretty disgusted with Obama, Biden and the Obot media machine (Ed Shultz, etc…) to Rosen’s slightly off statement- Rosen should have made it clear that she was talking about the fact that the Romney’s economic privilege class giving her lots of perks that most women don’t have.(as well as the Bidens and Obamas…It gives them the ability to make a rather politically suspicious choice for the wife to pretend to be a SAHM- if you look at what Ann Romney, Michelle Obama, etc… these political spouses that ostentatiously play what sure does look a like fake, not a real SAHM role to me- spouting anti feminist comments about women who are mothers who have careers outside the home (remember Michelle Obama’s nasty personal attacks on Hillary in 2008?). It sets my teeth on edge. But I see a difference between the fake SAHMs who have the economic status to choose to project this role for their spouse’s political gain and real SAHMs who aren’t playing a public role for their spouse’s political gain. I remember my second wave feminist mom during the time my parents were married (divorced in 1978) she was a SAHM (we were upper middle class when my parents were married, but plunged below the poverty line when my parents divorced). My mother very much believed if a mother wanted to work outside the home she should be able to and that a mom that did was just as good a mom as a SAHM.

  24. Gayle says:

    I see this as a class issue, too.

    Having been in a position where I often encountered the 1 percenters and even the 5 and 10 percenters, I was stunned by how outrageously clueless they all are about the way the majority of Americans live. Clueless and privileged beyond belief.

    Remember HW Bush’s amazement when presented with the grocery store scanner? Yeah, they’re that bad and even more so. These people shouldn’t be making decisions about any of our lives.

    Mitt Romney is dripping with money. What does he do with it other than spend it on himself? He gives his 10 percent or so tithing to his church. That’s it. For all the good he could do, he gives his share to the Church that nearly single handedly killed the ERA.

    Fuck him.

  25. Gayle says:

    “My mother very much believed if a mother wanted to work outside the home she should be able to and that a mom that did was just as good a mom as a SAHM.”

    That’s also a class issue now though, isn’t it? How many women today are actually able to choose between work and stay-at-home motherhood? Most Moms work. They don’t have much of a choice and neither do their husbands.

    Again, I think the fact that this even comes up as an issue (fake political battle really) illustrates just how out of touch the elite men who run our government and our corporations are. They actually believe moms are “choosing” to work or not work.

  26. Gayle says:

    Sorry to keep posting on this thread but I have to say one more thing:

    In the entire time Mitt Romney was Governor of my state, I never heard Ann say one thing. Not one. I don’t even know what her voice sounds like!

    The one time she tried to answer a question from our local press, Mitt nudged her and told her to keep quiet. It’s on tape, I saw it.

    So now we’re supposed to believe he takes political advice from her, that she somehow speaks for women? HA!!

  27. tinfoil hattie says:

    To be fair, HW Bush was not marveling over grocery scanners, but rather grocery scanners that “spoke” the prices aloud, and they were pretty innovative at the time.

    But I digress.

  28. Violet Socks says:

    President Friend To Women weighs in:

    Obama Rejects Rosen’s Comments on Ann Romney

    President Obama strongly disagreed with Democratic strategist Hilary Rosen’s controversial comment about Ann Romney, saying today that “there’s no tougher job than being a mom.”

    “Anybody who would argue otherwise, I think, probably needs to rethink their statement,” the president told Bruce Aune of ABC’s Cedar Rapids affiliate KCRG…

    The president went a step further, suggesting candidates’ families should be off limits. “I don’t have a lot of patience for commentary about the spouses of political candidates,” he told KCRG.

    “My general view is those of us who are in the public life, we’re fair game. Our families are civilians,” he said. “I haven’t met Mrs. Romney, but she seems like a very nice woman who is supportive of her family and supportive of her husband. I don’t know if she necessarily volunteered for this job so, you know, we don’t need to be directing comments at them. I think me and Governor Romney are going to have more than enough to argue about during the course of this campaign.”

    (“me and Governor Romney”?)

  29. tinfoil hattie says:

    It’s also an exercise in futility to divide women into “pretend” SAHMs and “real” SAHMs. According to whom? What is the definition of a “real” mother?

    Playing that game is divisive and absurd.

  30. Sameol says:

    They’re damned if they do and damned if they don’t, aren’t they? Even if someone does give up her career for her husband’s political gain, who could blame her? You want to be Judy Dean or Hillary Clinton or Michelle Obama having her entire professional career, plus her parenting raked over and criticized?

    I’d hide in the house, too.

  31. Toonces says:

    Is there really no definition of a stay-at-home-mom, though? Mother, I agree has no “real” definition, but SAHM has a common/general usage definition, doesn’t it? Same with “hasn’t worked a day in their life” — most people know what is meant by that and it isn’t about parenthood, but extreme wealth. Rosen made a mistake, others turned it into a stick to poke a bee’s nest with and distract from the class issue. And now Obama can hang Rosen out to dry and look good while women throw shit at each other.

  32. Violet Socks says:

    Interesting post from dakinikat: Punking Hillary Rosen. Without endorsing her commentary on upper class housewives (wow, her family was rich!), I agree that this fracas is mostly wingnut spin.

    It’s interesting that people can look at this situation and see such different things. Obviously some of you think this was a trial balloon deliberately floated by the Obama administration. Whereas it seems obvious to me that it was an accidental soundbite from Rosen and that the GOP jumped on it to try to change the subject from their War on Women. They’re losing enormously among women and they know it. Anything to paint themselves as faux feminists for a day.

    Maybe it’s a class thing, but I keep asking around and other women don’t seem to be interpreting Rosen’s remarks as a jab at SAHM. Everybody is like, “bullshit, she was talking about how effing rich and out of touch the Romneys are.”

  33. Sameol says:

    IS there a definition of SAHM? I don’t know, I’m asking. It seems like there are lots of complicated reasons to take and leave jobs. My mother stayed at home, but it was because she didn’t make enough money to pay for childcare. So, while she was a SAHM, she doesn’t really fit a standard definition of someone who chooses to stay home.

    , I usually hear “hasn’t worked a day in her life” directed at SAHMs and other caregivers who try to enter conversations about work-related matters, but that could just be because I don’t know any rich people.

  34. Toonces says:

    Sameol, rich people don’t say that about each other. Poor people say it about rich people, all the time.

  35. Dana says:

    oh for godsake, stop with the rich and the white bullshit. i’m brown and was most definitely not rich when we decided i would stay home with the kids (when we had them). and i did. we drove one old clunker, we ate a lot of beans and rice, we didn’t go on vacations, we took advantage of freebies in our community, we survived on very little because that was the PRIORITY in our lives. staying home with the kids was the greatest gift of time ever. and it required tremendous sacrifice, which we cheerfully made.

    there are plenty of black, brown, yellow, rich & poor women who make the choice to stay home, even when it’s a luxury they can’t really afford. they make it happen, they go without, they live with less.

  36. Toonces says:

    Yeah, not all SAHM’s are rich. Everyone realizes that.

    Is a mother who lives in her own private house on a gigantic compound with the kids in another house, with full-time staff including several nannies, who travels 3/4 of the year and socializes the rest, who sees her kids sometimes at bedtime, or on the weekends, a STAY-AT-HOME mom, or just a mom who doesn’t have a job, and by job I mean income-producing work of some sort, and by work I mean something paid for, and by paid I mean with money? There are wealthy women who live close to this (Camille Grammer is a famous example of someone who lived similarly at least at one point while married to Kelsey).

  37. Dana says:

    One more thing, Rosen picks at Ann Romney as essentially not having a clue about those who are struggling economically and don’t have the luxury of staying home with their children like she did, and yet she most conveniently neglects to put Michelle Obama in the pot, too. This, our first lady who in the most painfully tone-deaf, clueless manner talks to women in economically troubled Ohio in 2008:

    “I know we’re spending — I added it up for the first time — we spend between the two kids, on extracurriculars outside the classroom, we’re spending about $10,000 a year on piano and dance and sports supplements and so on and so forth,” Mrs. Obama tells the women. “And summer programs. That’s the other huge cost. Barack is saying, ‘Whyyyyyy are we spending that?’ And I’m saying, ‘Do you know what summer camp costs?’”

    With all those concerns, one might wonder whether the women should be comforting Mrs. Obama, but she assures them that she’s really O.K. “We don’t complain because we’ve got resources because of our education. We’ve got family structure,” she says. “So I tell people don’t cry for me.”

    Okay, then.

  38. Violet Socks says:

    Dana, you’re a brown woman? When did that happen?

    Considering that your one and only prior appearance here on the blog was when you explained that porn is good and feminists are mean because “the naked male body does not have the visual power, presence and allure that the female body does,” I’m a little wary of your analysis.

    ETA: And your quote is from the National Review! Jesus. Why the hell aren’t my filters working?

  39. Sameol says:

    No, I get that, Toonces. I meant that at least in my experience, that phrase is usually directed at people we actually know, not to rail at strangers. I can’t really say what our ratio of parenthood/extreme wealth usage would be if we were acquainted with more wealthy people.

  40. Miss Clairol says:

    I don’t think Rosen meant it as a jab at SAHM in general, but Rosen was head of the RIAA when they were terrorizing grannies and 8 year olds who downloaded two songs. Besides being evil, the RIAA is quite a powerful organization so I’m pretty sure that classwise she’s somewhat closer to the Romneys than to us. Which doesn’t necessarily make her the best person to make this case, either. We can’t find a middle class or working class woman to talk about class?

  41. Toonces says:

    1. Working and middle-middle class people aren’t allowed on teevee anymore – we’re to be represented in the media only by those who have been upper-middle class their whole lives, except for a brief period in college.

    2. I am not a mother and am not involved in the various wars around that, so it’s very possible that “hasn’t worked a day in their life” is something that is said to SAHM’s. What I have heard specifically said to or about SAHM’s that is similar, but gendered and different, is “sitting around eating bon-bons all day” to describe their activities. That to me would clearly be a jab at the unpaid and undervalued work of motherhood (and housewifery) rather than towards money-hoarding elites pretending to be Just Like Us, but I may just not realize how often the former is said to SAHM’s.

  42. Violet Socks says:

    What I have heard specifically said to or about SAHM’s that is similar, but gendered and different, is “sitting around eating bon-bons all day” to describe their activities.

    Toonces, we must come from the same layer in the socioeconomic stratigraphy. That is exactly the phrase I would expect to hear if the intent was to make a gendered slur about women’s work (or lack thereof).

    “Never worked a day in their life” is not something I would ever even begin to associate with SAHM. It’s purely about wealth. And I agree with what you mentioned above; poor people say that about rich people all the time. I’ve never heard it said about a woman of any class in relation to being a homemaker.

  43. Sameol says:

    I didn’t just mean that not all SAHMs are rich. I don’t know what the definition is, but I imagine it’s something like a woman who chooses to stay home because she feels it’s best for the kids, or because she likes being with kids. There are millions of reasons to take or leave a job.

    As to your example, look, I’m not advocating for wealth in any way shape or form, but I’m just not comfortable judging and stereotyping any woman as a parent. Sorry, just not. Damned if you work, damned if you don’t, I don’t have the formula for how much face time with the kids transforms a woman from a professional diletantte/bon Bon eater to SAHM.

  44. Toonces says:

    Sameol, I’m not judging the woman who has her nannies raise the kids. I don’t want kids. If I was in a situation where I felt I should have them*, and had the option to have qualified people help me, at every turn, I would. And I’m not saying that that is a “bad” way to mother. It might be the best way for certain families, and that’s fine. But I don’t think it’s the definition of stay-at-home motherhood for most people. Emphasis on the stay-at-home, not the motherhood.

    Also, I was directing the comment about not all SAHM’s being rich at Dana. Sorry I wasn’t clear.

    *I am not saying this is what Ann Romney, or any other woman, has felt.

  45. Sameol says:

    Well, I suggest you find some conservative men who are opposed to unions and get some women (does not need to be SAHMs, could be women without kids who care for family members) to talk up unions or try to discuss other work related matters. If you don’t hear, “What the hell do you know about it–you’ve never worked a day in your life!” then you are much luckier than I in your acquaintance.

  46. tinfoil hattie says:

    “Never worked a day in her life,” though, is DEFINITELY gendered, and in this case, as with Teresa Heinz Kerry and Laura Bush, it was directed at a wealthy woman who is also a mother. So we can pretend it’s nothing to do with motherhood, except that, y’know, it elides motherhood entirely by implying that rich mothers don’t work. As far as separate houses and servants raising the kids: how many people actually do that? I don’t know. But I don’t think it was the case with Romney, and it certainly wasn’t the case with Bush.

    As far as SAHMs – well, so-called “welfare mothers” also are SAHMs, but they aren’t called that, are they? So yeah, there are definitions and there are definitions.

    Being a mother is a thankless, undervalued, solitary business in the U.S., and like everything else women do, cannot be done “right.”

    As far as “Friend-to-Women” himself, Obama doesn’t give a shit about us. He jumped on this opportunity to scold Rosen, showing how genial he is even to an evil Republican like Romney, meanwhile selling our rights all along.

  47. Miss Clairol says:

    Fair point, Toonces, but can’t we at least find a wealthy person who isn’t desperately posturing as a member of the 99% while counting up the gajillion dollars extorted from middle class families?

  48. Toonces says:

    As far as SAHMs – well, so-called “welfare mothers” also are SAHMs, but they aren’t called that, are they? So yeah, there are definitions and there are definitions.

    What the fuck is that supposed to mean?

  49. Nina M. says:

    I have hunches again.

    Its easy to make a caricature of Ann Romney – most of us don’t know much about her. Thanks to the “Real Housewives” franchise most people “know” those rich ladies who do nothing but shop, shoot up botox, neglect their kids, and fling chardonnay.

    I would think Obama’s research picked up on the resentment of working women towards the “Real Housewives” persona.

    I don’t doubt that his team is working on creating a grotesque Real Housewives character called “Ann Romney” in order to solidify women’s support. Soon we’ll be hearing about how much she spends on clothes, or expensive trips, or something crazy she spent money on, or all the help she had raising her kids, and so on.

    And I think we’ll hear more surrogates making cracks that imply she’s a trifling elitist. Of course, Obama will rise about it by praising all mothers blah blah blah. Its the classic campaign set up – the surrogate makes nasty comments to the press while the candidate takes the high ground.

    But seriously, I can already hear women voters saying,

    “Mitt doesn’t seem so bad, but that wife of his is awful.”

  50. Violet Socks says:

    Here’s a profile on Rosen: Who is Hilary Rosen?

  51. Nina M. says:

    sorry, should have written “Obama will rise *above* it”

  52. Miss Clairol says:

    ““Never worked a day in her life,” though, is DEFINITELY gendered, and in this case, as with Teresa Heinz Kerry and Laura Bush, it was directed at a wealthy woman who is also a mother”

    Has anyone (prominent) ever gone on television or twitter and said of Bush, or Obama, or Romney that they’ve never worked a day in their lives? In their cases, it’s probably true, but I don’t think anyone would ever dare say it. I don’t see how it’s not gendered.

  53. Toonces says:

    Miss Clairol, people said that about Bush, CONSTANTLY. And yes, people are saying it about Romney. A lot.

  54. Violet Socks says:

    I’ve heard it said of Dubya many times.

    I don’t think using the appropriate masculine or feminine possessive pronoun makes something gendered in the feminist sense.

  55. Miss Clairol says:

    I’m not talking about average people or off-the-record, I’m talking about on-air pundits, national columnists, etc. I’ll take your word for it.

  56. Violet Socks says:

    Its easy to make a caricature of Ann Romney – most of us don’t know much about her.

    Nina, I don’t need anybody to create a caricature of Ann Romney. I don’t have any animus for the woman, but I also don’t have any high opinion of her. For a number of reasons, beginning with the fact that she’s an adult convert to one of the most offensive and misogynistic religions in the world.

    But she has a right to her choices in life, and I don’t doubt that she’s been a devoted wife and mother. Good for her.

  57. Nina M. says:

    Also –

    I just want to stick my nose in to say – let’s remember, there are some lousy mothers out there, of the working and non-working varieties.

    Growing up working class I had friends whose mothers didn’t work – were technically SAHMs – who totally neglected their kids. The kids ran wild while mom chased her boyfriend, hit the casinos in Atlantic City, smoked a lot of pot. They didn’t take care of the house, they didn’t make meals, and their nurturing took the form of screeching. It wasn’t the norm, though – most of my friends’ moms worked outside the home.

    And of course there are working mothers out there who make the Queen in Alien Resurrection look like Marian Cunningham.

    I think we sometimes lose sight of that as we try to find language that is inclusive and non-judgmental – sometimes, no matter what their choice (working vs. stay-at-home), the mother is just lousy.

    Anti-feminists have cultivated the notion that women shouldn’t compete with men for paid work by saying working mothers are deficient. Its a false paradigm. In reality, whether you work for pay or stay at home has little to do with how good you are at mothering. The variables “does or doesn’t work for pay” and “quality of mothering” don’t belong in the same equation.

  58. Nina M. says:

    Hi Violet. I was really reaching back to my own experience judging Cindy McCain. I thought I knew who she was – typical rich blond trophy wife, dabbling in charity, a Stepford type – until I read the New Yorker’s long profile of her. Turned out she’s much more interesting, independent and complex than I realized. And of course there’s all those people who are so sure they know who Sarah Palin is.

    I doubt there will be any great revelations about Ann Romney ala Cindy McCain. And I don’t think you were intentionally insulting her, nor trying to spin anything. For my part, I don’t think highly of her, and I don’t assume she’s been a devoted wife and mother. I just don’t know.

    But the opportunity is really perfect for Obama. You know how he is better at running *against* – and preferably against a woman – than he at running *for.*

    Do I think Obama’s team specifically told Rosen to go out there and insult Ann Romney? No. Do I think the strategists have talked about whether Ann Romney will be an effective surrogate for Mitt in reaching undecided and Republican women voters, particularly church-going, SAHM voters? Yes. Do I think they want to neutralize her (if not demonize her) by playing up that she’s not “like us”? You betcha.

    My guess is that Rosen had the “she’s not like us” talking points (and then fumbled the ball). And that we’re going to hear the “she’s not like us (women/ moms)” message a lot.

    I think Obama’s numbers are probably so weak among male likely voters that they are putting all their eggs in the woman voter basket. Total reversal of 2008, when they pandered to the white male vote and ignored / insulted women.

  59. Violet Socks says:

    Man, something is really weird with the filters tonight. Both Nina and Toonces keep landing in the spam jar, and I have no idea why. I’m very sorry if something gets hung up; I’ll keep checking the filter.

    Nina, I hear what you’re saying (I have an overwhelming desire for some reason to say I smell you on that routine), but I’m not sure. It makes sense, but I’m still thinking this was more of just a fuck up by Rosen. Who, by the way, was a big Hillary person. Is she plugged into the O machine? I don’t know.

    But the Republicans are definitely running with this, and that goddamn piece of shit Rush Limbaugh is now lecturing the country that only Republicans really appreciate the struggles that women go through, not like those evil feminazis on the left and I’m sorry I have to throw up now.

  60. Nina M. says:

    I just lost the comment I wrote so forgive me if this turns out to be a re-post.

    Violet, I’m not saying that you created a caricature. I was thinking back to my own experience of assuming I knew who Cindy McCain was – only to read that long New Yorker profile and find out that she’s a lot more interesting and independent than I thought. Its likely that the real Ann and the caricature Ann will look the same, especially given the Mormon piece.

    My point is that the dynamic is perfect for Obama, and that there’s likely a deliberate strategy to drive a wedge between An Romney and women voters. And that this is the background noise to Rosen’s comments.

    I’m guessing that Obama’s numbers among male likely voters are so bad that they’ve decided to put all their eggs in the woman voter basket (total reversal of 2008 when they pandered to men and ignored / insulted women). This means they need a repeat of 1992, when Republican women left the party in droves to vote Democrat because of the Republican extremism on abortion (among other things).

    Do I think Obama’s people have talked about Ann Romney’s potential as a surrogate for Mitt, reaching out to independent and Republican women, particularly non-working church going mothers, and her potential to appeal to them as moderate and “just like us”? Yes. Do I think Mitt is rolling out that old “I listen to my wife, and my wife would never let me blah blah blah” canard, just like “Barbara Bush is pro-choice” was used to signify that Bush pere was a moderate and women shouldn’t worry? Yep.

    Do I think Obama’s people want to neutralize (if not demonize) her by defining her as “not like us (women/ mothers)”? Yes.

    Do I think they sent Rosen out there to intentionally insult Ann Romney? No. But I do think she had the “not like us” game plan (and then fumbled the ball).

    I don’t doubt that Ann Romney really isn’t “just like us.” But I’d argue that it doesn’t matter – the problem is that Mitt will fill the White House with psychopaths.

  61. Toonces says:

    Wait, wasn’t this about the gender gap?

  62. Miss Clairol says:

    I don’t know, at this point I’m just wishing I never got out of bed today.

  63. Nina M. says:

    Oh crap, I think I just double-posted.

    You know, I think your spam filter is trying to tell me something.

    That profile of Rosen at the link you posted says she now works for a firm that has done work for Obama, SKDKnickerbocker. From their site:

    “Earned and Paid Media Role

    SKDK played a critical role in President Obama’s election, with Anita Dunn serving as one of the top officials of the campaign and the firm producing both television advertising and direct mail for the campaign.”

    Communications Strategy

    Dubbed Obama’s “mega-advisor” by Time Magazine, Anita oversaw every aspect of the strategic message development as well as the day-to-day tactical and rapid response program. She was featured on the night of the election on “60 Minutes” as part of the segment called “The Inner Circle” and newspapers said she was “one of the people to whom Obama listened most closely throughout the campaign.”

    Advertising and Direct Mail

    The firm was also brought into the campaign to produce national and state-specific television ads and direct mail for the general election. We created rapid response advertising that aired nationwide to counter McCain’s attacks and state specific advertising that helped Obama carry red states like Nevada. We are proud to be part of history in the making and proud of the work we did for the 44th President of the United States.”

    Hilary Rosen and Anita Dunn are both listed as managing directors.

    If I remember correctly, Anita Dunn was a big Bill Bradley for President supporter back in the day. FWIW.

    Very interesting that this message fail came from a top person at a prominent political communications firm. That is not good for business.

  64. Violet Socks says:

    Skimming back over the thread, I just want to respond to this from Sameol:

    If you don’t hear, “What the hell do you know about it–you’ve never worked a day in your life!” then you are much luckier than I in your acquaintance.

    Well, for whatever reason of class, geography, or life situation, I personally don’t associate that phrase with SAHM. But I don’t doubt for a moment what you’re saying and obviously, from the testimony of you and tinfoil and other women in this thread, this is something that gets thrown at SAHM. Which is horrible.

    So, just to be clear, I wasn’t trying to deny your experience.

  65. Sameol says:

    I appreciate that, Doctor. I’m sorry if that came off pissy, I was trying to clarify, in case it wasn’t clear, that I was in no way saying that feminists are attacking SAHMs or telling them they’ve never worked, but I definitely got lost in translation somewhere.

  66. Violet Socks says:

    I completely missed tinfoil’s comment #46 (or whatever). This bit:

    Being a mother is a thankless, undervalued, solitary business in the U.S., and like everything else women do, cannot be done “right.”

    is sad. Pace Riverdaughter, I think mothering is the most important thing in the world pretty much, and not because it’s women’s destiny or our proper role, but because it’s the most important thing any human can do. What is more essential than mothering?

  67. Violet Socks says:

    Also, one other thing before I go to bed, though I’m sleepy so it may be messy –

    folks, notice that this really is divide and conquer shit. The fact is women get slammed and ridiculed for their life choices no matter what. Clearly women who work at home are still ridiculed and the pain and anger is coming through loud and clear. And women like me, who work in paying careers and don’t have children, are also ridiculed as failures and nothings. Still! No matter what we do, somebody is going to rake us over the fucking coals and talk about what bad women we are.

  68. angie says:

    In 2008 I heard a lot of Dems saying that Sarah Palin, mother of 5, should be staying home with her children instead of being the gov. of Alaska & running for VP. So when I heard a Dem (in the person of Hilary Rosen, longtime PR consultant who is employed by the DNC) say that Ann Romney, mother of 5, “never worked a day in her life” I took it to be a slam that SAHMs don’t “work” but are sitting around all day eating bon bons so they don’t know anything about the economy. Blame it on the PTSD from 2008, but that was my honest reaction (and I saw it in real time on CNN, so it wasn’t right wingnut spin unless my honest reaction makes me a closet right wingnut). Now, Rosen has clarified (or at least tired to) that she meant that Ann Romney has never had to worry about finances so Mitt Romney shouldn’t have her as his “expert” on women’s views of the economy. With her clarification, I’ve got no reason to doubt that is what Hilary Rosen meant (although she stepped on her message) but she’s still wrong for 2 important reasons.

    (1) If you’ve actually seen the CNN clip Rosen’s comments were made in connection with a clip of Mitt saying, during a campaign stump speech, that his wife Ann has been campaigning over the last year with him and that “she’s talked to a lot of women out there” and “what she tells me” is that the women she meets say the economy is their #1 issue. Now, that could be some stump speech b.s. to connect him to the average Joe/Jane but that’s not relevant (all pols, on the left & the right do that). What is relevant is that Rosen is misrepresenting what Mitt said Ann’s role is. He didn’t say she was his “expert” on anything — he said she reported what the women (presumably non-wealthy women) she met on the campaign trail told her. Regardless of how privileged a life Ann Romney has led, she seems competent enough to me to relay what she has seen/heard on the campaign trial.

    Second, the fact that a woman has wealth does not disqualify her from speaking — on any issue. And that pretty much is what Rosen’s “clarification” seems to be saying: “Ann Romney is a rich b!tch so she should STFU!” (And yes, there are plenty of tweets out there saying exactly that — although some use the “c” word — about Ann Romney today — if your site allowed me to upload screen caps I’d show you). I resent the “Angel in the House” characterization of any woman just on principle.

    Also, just FYI — the oldest Romney son gave an interview today & he said that they didn’t have nannies growing up. So that whole “Real Housewife of La Jolla” meme on Twitter about Ann doesn’t hold water either.

    As to anecdotal evidence from dakinikat & others that “all the women they spoke to today” knew Rosen’s “she’s never worked a day in her life” was about Ann Romney’s wealth, not about SAHMs, all I can tell you is, all the women I spoke to today (including my co-workes, my PhD mother who worked outside the home back when most women didn’t –even though she didn’t “have” to & my SAHM cousin who choose to be a one income household when her kids were born even though she is far from “wealthy”) took Rosen’s comments the same way I did at first. But you know what that means? Basically nothing — that is why it is “anecdotal” evidence.

  69. SweetSue says:

    Purely from a political strategy point of view why didn’t Hilary Rosen understand that the “war on women” meme was really working?
    It also happens to be true (see Walker, Scott) and Rosen just undermined its power. Her stupid remark will forever be a talking point anytime a Dem brings up the terrible laws being passed and signed by Republicans.
    Way to go, Rosen.
    OTOH, words have lost all meaning. Bay Buchanan described Rosen’s remark as “despicable.” No, it’s not. If she had said, ” Ann Romney has ms-ha, ha, ha” that would have been despicable.

    And, may I say that it’s always a pleasure to see you, Angie!

  70. tinfoil hattie says:

    What the fuck is that supposed to mean?

    Toonie! You cut me to the quick.

    My poorly worded comment means: You are a SAHM if you are of a certain economic class. You are a welfare-sucking lazy mother if you are poor.

    That’s all.


  71. tinfoil hattie says:

    I heard/read the comment the same way Angie did – AND I heard it as, rich women have never worked so who are they to complain/talk/offer an opinion about anything?

    Rich dudes? They’re “self-made men.” They’re “successful.” They’re “good with money.” And they run for president, so nobody seems to be concerned that they can’t speak to what needs doing in the country. In fact, you can’t even be president if you’re not a rich dude, so the whole bullshit about “she never worked a day in her life therefore she’s not qualified to speak about anything important” is sexist bullshit.

    To publicly, nationally disparage another woman on a personal level, for political gain, is really distasteful. I don’t think Rosen’s comment was a good thing to say even if the Romneys had no kids whatsoever. Why didn’t Rosen get REALLY brave and say, “Mr. Romney apparently believes that only another woman can figure out what the majority of the population wants and needs.”

    Now THAT would have been worth applauding.

  72. RKMK says:


    “Never worked a day in [their] life” has always been an economic/class critique. I think it’s evolved in use in some circles post-Reagan, as the lower classes were forced to scapegoat and peck at each other over the scraps of what’s left as the wealth re-concentrated at the top, and with the simultaneous onset of more of the identity politics. (Also, because it suits Republicans to muddy critical discourse by arbitrarily changing the meaning of words and phrases to further their agenda.) This is definitely a making-a-mountain-out-of-a-molehill thing.

  73. anna says:

    “I think mothering is the most important thing in the world pretty much, and not because it’s women’s destiny or our proper role, but because it’s the most important thing any human can do. What is more essential than mothering?”

    Surprised you would say mothering and not parenting, but I agree with what you mean. I think raising children is an extremely important job, and I wish people who choose to be stay at home parents, particularly those who home school, could get some kind of payment from the state in acknowledgement of their important work, so they wouldn’t have to be financially dependent on their spouse; instead of just more lip service about what an important job it is.
    That’s why I could never be a stay at home parent – unless you’re independently wealthy, you’re completely financially dependent on your spouse. Not exactly helpful to having an equal partnership.

  74. SweetSue says:

    Could I get out of moderation, pretty please?

  75. tinfoil hattie says:

    I absolutely heard/read Rosen’s comment the way angie did. If Rosen did indeed mean, “she’s never worked because she’s rich,” than Rosen absolutely IS negating the work Romney performed to raise her five children and keep a household running. It completely ignores that unpaid, undervalued work. It’s such a “given” that at-home parenting is not “work,” because if you can afford to “stay at home,” then you’re rich, and somehow the work involved in parenting magically disappears. WTF? The one has nothing to do with the other.

    Daycare providers and/or nannies, of course, are doing hard, hard work for which they are woefully underpaid. But somehow, if you “stay home” (HA!) doing this exact same work, you are performing a less valued service, and you’re lazy and privileged because you “can” stay home. It’s a vicious, bullshit woman-against-woman trick that is trotted out all the time.

    Furthermore, men who are rich have no problem being qualified to run the country, regardless of whether they have “worked a day in their life.” They are certainly qualified to worry about all the big problems, and opine on everything from vaginas to fracking (LOL!). In fact, ONLY rich men are allowed to be put in the highest office of our fair land.

    But somehow, Ms. Romney and other wealthy women are not qualified to talk to people and ask their opinions, by virtue of the fact that they are rich. So, rich women not only don’t do any work, they’re also stupid? Or, at best, ignorant? Not qualified to ask women what they are struggling with? Not qualified to opine on anything, ever, because they wealthy?

    It’s bullshit, it’s sexist, and the anti-SAHM sentiment is so deeply buried that it’s hard to dig it out. But any time someone says, “She never worked a day in her life” about any parent, ever, that speaker is dismissing the hard work that goes into parenting.

  76. tinfoil hattie says:

    I’m apparently stuck in spam hell too, so whichever of my redundant comments you like better, Violet, set it free.

  77. Susan says:

    Popular subject. I’m sorry that I wasn’t here yesterday but I was debating the same points on Politico.

    I understood that Hilary Rosen was trying to say that Ann Romney has had a very different life than the vast majority of American women. It’s a true statement and, to me, was very clear, in context. I didn’t take it as a slam on SAHM’s but she forgot to make the obligatory bow to SAHM’s which has been required fforfeminists since the ’80′s. It was a mistake but I’m disgusted at the way the Democratic establishment has fed her to the wolves.

    Of course, parenting is the most important act in humanity but the children of working mothers grow up to be just as healthy, accomplished and well-adjusted as the children of SAHM’s. Working mothers, contrary to the Republican wingnuts’ spin, are not destroying the nation. In fact, they tend to spend more one-on-one time with their kids than SAHM’s.

    I didn’t see it as a gendered comment but I’m sorry that it, even for a moment, gave the GOP an opportunity to dump, even more, on feminists.

    As for Ann Romney, it’s my understanding that Mitt is tight with a penny and that he left her to raise the children pretty much on her own which just confirms my initial opinion that he’s a cruel man who doesn’t really care about anyone more than he cares about himself. I would assume that Ann Romney did what her church tells her to do and let her husband make all the decisions in their family. The fact that she continues to support him as he tries to destroy the social safety net for other women is not to her credit. They were interviewed by Diane Sawyer during the 2008 primary and one of them had the nerve to say that they were grateful that they had health insurance when she was diagnosed with MS. It was a laughable attempt to appear as if they were an “averge family”, as if they don’t have a $250 million and access to the best medical care in the world no matter what their insurance situation.

    Whatever. Mitt still brought her into the political conversation and to demand she be off-limits is hypocritical. I imagine Obama does agree that families should be off-limits. He certainly doesn’t want to hear aobut Michelle’s expensive vacations for months.

    It’s too bad that we don’t have a choice other than these two men who really couldn’t care less about women’s lives.

  78. Jack says:

    I don’t know if this will get stuck in mod or not, but as a New Englander, I can attest to the fact that “never worked a day in [his, her] life” is almost always referring upward, to a rich person who has advantage and privilege, at least here in the Northeast. It’s a “silver spoon” kind of comment. The Bushes, the various Kennedy scions, the Bass clan have all been variously described that way. Curiously enough, one almost never hears it in reference to the two giant gadzillionaire Greek grocer tribes (Demoulas, Haseotes), perhaps reflecting a Southern European/Northern European conflict which goes back to the mid nineteenth century.

    There are local colloquialisms which are very gendered, such as the aforementioned comment about “bon-bons,” but also including: “sits on her duff”, “sucks him dry” and “she refuses to work because [insert reason only applying to people with lady parts].”

  79. Violet Socks says:

    I’m sorry, folks, the spam filter went nuts and hung up a bunch of comments. I’ve been away from the computer today but just released a bunch of comments from jail. No clue what’s going on, since most of these comments are from regulars.

  80. cellocat says:

    I think Hilary Rosen would have done better to say that the Romney family has not been forced to make the sort of choices and sacrifices that most Americans face when raising a family due to straightened financial circumstances. She didn’t have to point that comment at Ann Romney, even though that’s how Mitt framed it. The point is not whether a person works in or outside of the home; the point is what a difference resources make to people’s health, lifestyle, safety, and opportunities, and that someone who’s never had to deal with a significant lack of resources is in a poor position to speak for those who have.

  81. Toonces says:

    My laptop is self-destructing, so I just want to say to Tinfoil Hattie, I’m not mad, I get where you were coming from. We all have our triggers.

  82. Adrienne in CA says:

    Funny how a phrase can vary in meaning. I’ve frequently heard “never worked a day in [usually his] life” applied to politicians who move from one public service or political staffer type position to another until they’re elected, then go from political office to office, never having worked a “real” job — that is, one in the private sector.

    Of course there’s a class distinction in how that slur is applied. Conservatives who make the charge would never say the same about a trust-funded patrician who ventures out of his gated community to buy elected office. Noblesse oblige (aka the noble cause of protecting one’s own class privilege) is “work” in their view.

  83. Violet Socks says:

    RKMK! I have to say, I’m so happy to see you again. It’s been ages. I have missed your comments.

  84. xtinfoil hattoe says:

    I didn’t take it as a slam on SAHM’s but she forgot to make the obligatory bow to SAHM’s which has been required fforfeminists since the ’80′s.

    While you, naturally, graced us with the obligatory slam required of those who refuse to acknowledge that maybe, just maybe, the denigration of SAHMs is indeed a real thing.

    What, exactly is your problem with mothers who take care of their children all day? Please. Explain to me why women who take care of other people’s children ate somehow doing a more important job than women who take care of their own children? Why the snotty comment? What is so threatening about it?

    I am tired of people – feminists! – using sarcasm, sneers, andatronization of SAHMs to explain how there IS no attack on SAHMs.


  85. Miss Clairol says:

    “The fact that she continues to support him as he tries to destroy the social safety net for other women is not to her credit.”

    That’s exactly what the ‘Billary’ crowd said about Hillary Clinton. Not only when they blamed her for everything he did, but also when they talked about how they could never vote for her because only a weak-willed Stepford Wife who let her husband make all the decisions would stay with a philanderer. Good thing using the First Lady as a run-off receptacle for the hate directed at her husband doesn’t ever have any consequences beyond the rich old white ladies themselves.

  86. Violet Socks says:

    Oh for heaven’s sake. Ann Romney is a Republican and a Mormon. Read up on her, read interviews with her, read profiles, notice what she says. This isn’t “run-off” hate for her husband; it’s taking her at her word.

    Frankly, the real analogue with Hillary Clinton here is Hilary Rosen. So she misspoke. She blundered. But no matter how many times she apologizes and tries to clarify what she meant and say that she respects SAHM, etc., people insist that she’s some kind of anti-woman hater, blah blah blah. This is bullshit.

    I’m sorry, but the witch hunt here isn’t for Ann Romney. It’s for Hilary Rosen. And I’m getting tired of it.

  87. Miss Clairol says:

    She’s not being called a cunt and a whore because of anything to do with her and everything to do with her husband. Take her at her word that she supports her husband? Sure. If she didn’t she’d be marching up and down with picket signs, so I guess.

    I don’t see much of anything happening to Hillary Rosen. Even a lot of the conservatives aren’t blaming her specifically because they don’t buy that a PR flak for the White House would go off message so spectacularly and say something so dumb. Axlerod and Co. may be pretending to go after her, but I really don’t think this is going to end her career, even after she doubled down two or three times. The Hill is already spinning Obama’s admirable willingness to chastise his friends. She might end up being the scapegoat, but it’s just as likely that she’ll come out of this just fine. She might even get a bonus as nobody who matters to the White House was affected at all.

  88. Violet Socks says:

    She’s not being called a cunt and a whore because of anything to do with her and everything to do with her husband.

    Who is calling her that? I don’t know what sites you’re reading, but I check Memeorandum to see what the general tenor of the times is. And the coverage has been pretty much 90% anti-Hilary Rosen for the past two days. The wingnuts are attacking her as a lesbian feminazi, and using this as “proof” that feminism is really a secret plot to trick women into killing their children and becoming witches, as per Pat Robertson. The Democrats are almost all dropping Rosen like a stone and publicly chastising her to a really disgraceful extent—disgraceful because, in their eagerness to score points with wingnuts, they ignored Rosen’s own repeated clarifications of what she meant.

  89. Sameol says:

    Frankly, the real analogue with Hillary Clinton here is Hilary Rosen. So she misspoke. She blundered. But no matter how many times she apologizes and tries to clarify what she meant and say that she respects SAHM, etc., people insist that she’s some kind of anti-woman hater, blah blah blah. This is bullshit.

    Except there is and was a lot more to Hillary Clinton’s job than public speaking. Rosen’s actual job is to make the President look good, to disseminate his message, to stay on message, to not step on the message, to not become the story, and to not keep the story going. I don’t think she should be cast into the outer darkness or anything, but she did sort of violate the Prime Directive of being a political professional whose entire function is to carefully craft and manipulate words and images.

  90. Violet Socks says:

    Yes, but people fuck up. All the time. Even smart people.

    You know what this reminds me of? Hillary Clinton’s 2008 campaign. Whenever she misspoke, it was never just misspeaking; no, always it was evidence of her real racism/lying/evil intent of some sort, because if she’s so smart how could she misspeak, huh? And isn’t it her job to stay on message and sell herself? So there! Nope, no misspeaking; obviously Hillary Clinton really is a racist who thinks black people are lazy and wants Obama to be assassinated, just like she really hates SAHM and thinks they do nothing but bake cookies, blah blah blah.

    Jesus CHRIST. Why do we do this to each other? The woman fucked up. She misspoke. She’s apologized. What else do you want?

  91. tinfoil hattie says:

    Twitter is, well, a-twitter with Ann Romney being called a cunt and a bitch. Maybe a whore, too, because she: lives off her husband, amirite? While “not working.”

    And, should there be some sort of “witch hunt” for Ann Romney, rather than for Hillary Rosen? What did Ann Romney do wrong, in this specific instance? Besides be rich.

    Rosen made a personal slur against another woman – a woman who hadn’t even said anything; husband had! – and she should take the heat for it. Sameol is right: this is Rosen’s job, and she blew it. And she doubled-down on blowing it by reaching for that reliable old standby: misogyny.

  92. tinfoil hattie says:

    Yes, but people fuck up. All the time. Even smart people.

    Yes, and if Hillary Rosen had simply apologized instead of trying to justify her comment by saying, in effect: I personally attacked another woman because she is rich, not because that woman even made a comment with which I disagree – I’d be a lot more forgiving.

    But Dems are where we women are supposed to go, remember? The Dems are on our side. So no, I won’t let up. I’ll call out the Dems on every freaking sexist syllable they utter, until they start acting like I really do belong in their party. Instead of threatening me with the prospect of losing “rights” that their man has happily bargained away, they need to can the sexist bullshit and divisiveness and earn my vote. And I’ll continue to be vocal about how they need to do that.

  93. Violet Socks says:

    Here is what Hilary Rosen said:

    “With respect to economic issues, I think actually that Mitt Romney is right, that ultimately, women care more about the economic well-being of their families and the like. But there’s — but he doesn’t connect on that issue either.

    “What you have is Mitt Romney running around the country saying, ‘Well, you know, my wife tells me that what women really care about are economic issues. And when I listen to my wife, that’s what I’m hearing.’

    “Guess what? His wife has actually never worked a day in her life. She’s never really dealt with the kinds of economic issues that a majority of the women in this country are facing in terms of how do we feed our kids, how do we send them to school, and how do we — why we worry about their future.

    “So I think it’s — yes, it’s about these positions and, yes, I think there will be a war of words about the positions, but there’s something much more fundamental about Mitt Romney. Because he seems so old-fashioned when it comes to women. And I think that comes across. And I think that that’s going to hurt him over the long term. He just doesn’t really see us as equal.”

    Subsequently, Rosen clarified numerous times that her remarks were not intended as a slur against Ann Romney or against SAHMs, but rather a reference to the fact that the Romneys are not in touch with the economic struggles of most American women. Numerous times she made this clarification, and numerous times she apologized.

    No misogyny, no doubling down on misogyny, nothing.

    The attacks on Hilary Rosen are seriously creeping me out. People need to fucking chill.

  94. RKMK says:

    Aw, thanks Violet. Not long after the 2008 elections I got me a job that grossly cut down my arguing-on-the-internets time, but the latest Hilary brouhaha (and Hillary becoming an internet phenomenon) got me to start flitting around my old haunts. :)

    TFH – I’m sorry, but I really find it hard to believe that Hilary Rosen, a mother to two children of her own, really devalues the work of mothers. She just fucked up the wording, like Hillary did decades ago.

    Martha Plimpton (who, FYI, I flooooooooove, and if you’re on twitter, you should follow her, she’s an awesome broad of the first magnitude) posted this, and I think it’s very wise:

    “The “Mommy Wars” is a bullsh*t construction used to divide women the moment we start to consolidate power. Don’t buy into it this time.”

  95. bemused_leftist says:

    “What did Ann Romney do wrong, in this specific instance?”

    Before Rosen’s remark, I dunno. But very soon after Rosen’s remark, AR let her name be used in a very dishonest, personal, and destructive attack on Rosen.

    Instead of dignified snubbing, or answering Rosen in a statement as long and thoughtful as Rosen’s own, countering each of Rosen’s points — what did AR do? She (more likely the campaign) OPENED a Twitter account. This provided her a 140 soundbyte excuse from meeting Rosen’s detailed points. Instead of using that 140 soundbyte honestly, she pretended to respond to some attack that Rosen had not made. Her ‘defense’ characterized Rosen’s message as an attack on SAHM in general. A 140 soundbyte call to the Mommy Wars.


  96. Adrienne in CA says:

    “The “Mommy Wars” is a bullsh*t construction used to divide women the moment we start to consolidate power. Don’t buy into it this time.”

    Yes, yes, yes. It doesn’t matter what Hilary Rosen said. If not her, it would have been someone else. Thanks to Santorum and others’ insane anti-birth control crap, women started to consolidate power — across party lines, fer chrissakes. It had to be stopped.

  97. cellocat says:

    Adrienne, yes. However we can be thankful that since Mitt is tacking so hard to the right, there will be other opportunities. It’s not like Santorum’s departure from the race has diminished the crap from all other quarters.

  98. Violet Socks says:

    I’m not going to be approving any more comments in this thread. I’ve just checked my mod queue and spam filter (which is still acting up and snagging regular people’s comments for some reason), and it is full of just amazing shit. People are now attacking me, accusing me of saying or implying things I have never said or implied, attacking other commenters, making false statements about who Hilary Rosen is and where she works, making utterly fantastical mind-reading statements about what Rosen thinks and what I think and so on and so on — this is just nuts. I’m not going to wade through and publish some comments or pick and choose, because this whole thing is totally out of control and I feel like it’s wrong to enable this any further. People need to calm down.

    I’m shutting this down.